October 22, 1969
Once the Corvette had been sold, Nate and I began the juggling act of sharing one vehicle. Although I needed it to carpool to school, my friend Judy drove every other week — freeing Nate’s VW half the time. When I had the car, he walked or ran the 2 miles to campus for his law classes. Both of us hoped a second car would come along soon.
But there was another dilemma. Since Nate was still leaving the apartment each night to sleep in his rented room, I was left without a vehicle overnight. This bothered him a immensely. On the weekends I drove him home, then returned to the apartment, which meant I had a car overnight in case of emergency but had to walk into our building alone, after midnight – which bothered Nate even more.
Standing on the radiator at the base of the window, I was sliding the fabric onto the curtain rod when a car full of rowdy young men pulled by in the street below. Their loud radio and boisterous voices could be heard even through my closed window.
Watching them stop directly in front of our building, I suddenly felt very vulnerable. And realizing my entire profile was visible through the window, I quickly hopped down and stepped to the side. As I did, I saw 4 guys get out of the car and head toward our building’s front door. Residential lobbies weren’t locked in those days, especially those not in big cities, and anyone could walk in and climb the stairs.
That’s when I heard their deep voices laughing and shouting…. and coming closer. They were coming up the steps.
Not knowing what to do and feeling defenseless, I quietly put the curtain and its rod on the floor and tip-toed toward the door to be sure it was locked. As I got there and put my hand on the knob, what sounded like a big fist banged hard on the door, making the whole thing vibrate.
Thankfully it was locked, but I didn’t have the courage to set the chain. They were only inches away from me outside the door, and I didn’t want them to hear fear. As I stood frozen to the floor, one of them said, “Hey! Open up in there! We have a nice surprise for you!”
I didn’t respond but was sure they heard my heart pummeling my chest. “We’re going around presenting married couples with a special gift and just want to drop yours off.”
I was shaking all over and knew they were checking to see if I had a man with me. If Nate had been there, he would have already called the police, but that didn’t occur to me. I felt that if I left my post at the door, somehow they would get in…. a foolish idea, born of panic.
As I saw them try the doorknob, a horrifying thought swept through me. We had a back door too, and maybe the group at the front was just distracting me while someone else was quietly stealing up the back. Even worse, I knew that that door was unlocked. We left it open as we came and went throughout each day, and I usually locked it just before going to bed.
(…to be continued)
“God has not given us a spirit of fear…. but of a sound mind.” (2 Timothy 1:7)